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Fremantle sings Latin ‘Idol’ for Sony

Production location not yet determined

FremantleMedia Latin America will produce a pan-regional version of “Idol” for Sony Entertainment Television Latin America to air next year.

FremantleMedia will handle production and hold auditions for the singing contest in Latin American cities. The production location of the competition has not yet been determined.

Show will be an SET exclusive, which T.C. Shultz, senior VP for international networks for Sony Pictures Television Intl., predicts will help the channel, broadening viewership via appointment TV, and operators, with whom it plans to partner on promotions.

Given SET’s different feeds in the region, FremantleMedia could create complementary coverage to air in local territories, such as profiles of contestants from a specific country like Mexico or Argentina. SET has 18 million subscribers in Latin America.

Deal is a pan-regional pay TV first for FremantleMedia.

It has produced a Brazilian version of “The Apprentice” in partnership with broadcaster TV Record and with Discovery’s People + Arts channel, but that show aired only on the pay TV channel in one country.

FremantleMedia aims also to sell the “Idol” format to broadcasters, which have been the main consumers of reality programming in Latin America.

It has already sold “Idol” to SBT. The No. 2 broadcaster in Brazil will air it in 2006.

SET currently airs “American Idol,” but the song format has existed in the region for a number of years.

Since the success of the first edition of Endemol’s “Operacion Triunfo” in Spain, Latin America has seen a rash of them, some licensed, some not, from “Popstars” to “La Academia.”

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